Arts Care, the Northern Ireland-based health and well-being charity’s ‘Twilight’ annual art exhibition, gives a much-needed creative outlet for young people in care.
Artists facilitated sessions with the young people at their care homes, encouraging the young people to create pieces of art expressing their voices and ideas. Twilight offers young people between the ages of 12-18, who are residents in Health and Social Care facilities in Northern Ireland, the opportunity to work with Arts Care artists creating artwork to transform their own living environments and for the annual exhibition in the Arts Care Gallery.
The theme this year was “Listen Up!”. A total of 24 locations took part over two weeks and the artworks were exhibited in the Arts Care Gallery between 1st – 7th December 2022. A piece of music was also created during a “Saturday Session” at the Arts Care Studio created by 4 young people.
Twilight is one of many programmes funded by the Public Health Agency which supports delivery under the ‘Making Life Better - A Whole System Strategic Framework for Public Health 2013-2023’. Evidence suggests the rates of common mental health disorders for children and young people are approximately 25% higher in Northern Ireland than in England, Scotland and Wales. With this in mind, Twilight offers an increased opportunity for children and young people in care to be empowered through individual expression, learn new or build upon existing artistic skills, enhance feelings of self-worth, improve their mental health and connect with other young people across the region.
An important element to realising these outcomes is the annual exhibition which provides the children and young people with a platform to showcase and celebrate their achievements – and to have their ‘voices’ heard. The project continues to be successful by ensuring that children and young people remain at the centre from the outset through ongoing co-design which ultimately supports the project in evolving to better meet the needs of those taking part each year.
Maurice Meehan, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing (Northern), said “ The PHA are delighted to work with Arts Care in this important programme that matches young people in care with Artists and Musicians to enable the development of expressive work by the young people.”
Arts Care is an award-winning Arts and Health charity, based in Belfast, working across Northern Ireland providing a varied range of professional artists, dancers, musicians and writers across the whole region to engage with a broad spectrum of service users and healthcare staff. Barry Macaulay CEO/Artistic Director of Arts Care commented “It was a delight to see this year’s Twilight Exhibition in our Centre to showcase the amazing work the young people have done with support from our visual artists and musicians. This is the 12th year of the project, and we are so grateful for the ongoing funding from the Public Health Agency and their belief in the benefits of art to the health, well-being and self-esteem of these young people.”